A Tale of a Working Student to a Full Time Freelancer & VA

February 18, 2012

There was only one institution that I wanted to go to for college, but aside from the fact that I didn’t make it on the quota, my family thought it was very far. I was ready to apply for another course, even if I didn’t specify one but they really didn’t want me to. Geez, it was like 15mins away without traffic, add it to the things that they exaggerate.

Reluctantly I enrolled to the school, which was walking distance from our house and costs more than my choice, but I took the course that I wanted too. Not nursing, not any course that my relatives took.

Slowly, changes happened and life became difficult. It was not because of my course load nor my list of Computer Science core subjects that I am encountering for the first time.

It’s because I can’t afford to study anymore.

I was one of those CAP Educational Plan ‘victims’. My family was expecting to get something from CAP but I wasn’t. As time goes by, a lot of my relatives come up with the money to get me going, while my mom just gives me P20/day to survive school. Friends helped but it wasn’t enough and it wasn’t forever.

Eventually I have to drop out and work. Because (1) the supposed discount I should be getting from CAP or the PEP Coalition just got me into debt, (2) nobody wants to help anymore and (3) my mom didn’t care enough and rely on other’s people’s help.

My world broke down, my dreams shattered. I didn’t want to transfer to ICCT, even if someone promised to pay up until grad. I’d rather stop going to school or work.

Before my last sem in school I was already applying in McDo. I’d talk to my professors when I have errands to run for my application and I’m thankful that they are very understanding. They have confidence in me, to catch up with schoolwork because they have known my performance since first year.

In the end, I wasn’t able to work for McDo because they sent my files to another branch which was far and I had to wait for around April to actually get started. Funny thing is, I went to Makati to get my papers signed and got lost on my way home. Then I already have my ATM card and I have undergone orientation already during Sept. 2008. Also I spent around 3k for everything.

Then one of our relatives suggested that I apply in the pawnshop of one of his friends, because I can’t find another job. I survived the training but I didn’t pass it, because I was badmouthed by one of the persons there, twisting the story about something that she had me do. I told them the truth because I didn’t want my relative to have a bad reputation or something. They got it cleared up in the end.

After that my mom made me apply to a call center in Ortigas, around Oct 2009. I never wanted to, because I know myself well enough on what jobs I can and I can’t perform. I stayed there for a month before almost all in my team didn’t pass the evaluation. After this one, left and right I tried looking for a job but I wasn’t lucky.

I was an idler for a long time. I gained weight. I started feeling sorry for myself. But all I wanted to do was study and graduate with my friends. Truth is, working was very far from my mind, even if I had experienced earning money by myself.

I went back to school in May 2010 and went to get an internship. I wasn’t lucky with that one either and was forced to take my internship in the IT Department of my mom’s company. I talked about that in my OJT experience entry.

Then I went back to being a student after finishing the OJT for a month. After a few weeks I got an interview invitation in a company in Makati. I tried it and I specifically told Sir Hermie that I am still studying, I am doing this to learn more, and doing this so I can finish school. I became a Programmer Trainee, something I never imagined in the state that I was in. It’s very very rare for people to hire someone who doesn’t have a diploma on hand as well as some kind of work experience in this country.

That was the most stressful, tiring, busy but one of the happiest days of my college life. They were very understanding and very supportive. But I knew that I couldn’t be unfair because I can’t give my 110% anymore. So I decided to tell Sir Hermie my decision. It ran from July 2010 – May 2011. And I’m thankful that until now, he guides me on my decisions and in times of confusion.

I continued studying and tried another job when I couldn’t go back to school again. This time as a graphic/layout artist on a local ad paper. Eventually I quit because I couldn’t take the pressure, I know this isn’t what I want to be and I don’t like an environment where you can’t breathe.

Again, I was nothing, for the nth time.

Then I got an opportunity to work for someone, to be an encoder. But later on I turned out to be a secretary for multiple businesses and someone her daughter would command around. I also found out that my personal online accounts were being checked without my knowledge when I wasn’t around. I know there’s a fault in my part, saving the passwords, but nonetheless it was unethical to do so even if they were my employer.

That, by the way, lead me to my first freelance gig. I got another, which I shared with a friend. And another. I also got a part-time virtual assistant job. December 2011 has been good to me.

This is me now: The freelancer. The virtual assistant. The blogger.

I meet people, I enjoy what I do, I share my thoughts and experiences, I want to inspire. I found my niche.

I admit I still lack total discipline, which I account to the working environment that I have. I also lack skills, because I learn as I go. And the confidence, because I can’t see that person that Sir Hermie says has a potential. But I’m getting there, because I don’t stop learning.


It wasn’t – isn’t – a smooth ride.  There are lots of ups and downs. I don’t know where I get my strength and hope but, I’m thankful I’m not giving up on life.

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